Alabama Football In A Nutshell

Mark Barron

It helps, sometimes, to put things in a nutshell. It's easy to over-analyze Alabama football, worrying (so that Nick Saban doesn't have to) about who will win the quarterback job, etc. Here's a bare bones look at the upcoming Crimson Tide.



Alabama

Last season's record: 10-3

Returning starters/letterwinners: 16 (plus 2 kickers)/52

Key losses: Former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram (tailback), DE Marcell Dareus, WR Julio Jones, and offensive LT James Carpenter were NFL first round draft choices, and Bama also lost two-year starting QB Greg McElroy.

Key returnees: Three-year starting offensive linemen C William Vlachos and RG (perhaps moving to LT) Barrett Jones and All-America S Mark Barron are key returnees.

Best game: November 5 AT Tuscaloosa VS LSU

Projected finish: 12-0 (based on early Las Vegas lines)

Outlook: Scout.com publishers selected Alabama as the favorite to win the Southeastern Conference, and the SEC winner has won five consecutive BCS championships (including one by the Crimson Tide in 2009).

Last year Bama was at a schedule disadvantage with six SEC opponents having an open date before the Alabama game. The Tide also had serious injury bad luck (notably returning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram having knee surgery just before the start of the season).

Coach Nick Saban, who has won BCS titles at two different schools (LSU and Alabama), has stockpiled talent with outstanding recruiting classes. He returns both kickers and nine starters on defense, and the offense is built around having four returning starters in the offensive line, the tight end, and an outstanding tailback in Trent Richardson, who is no longer in Ingram's shadow.

Bama's toughest games are expected top be against Arkansas and LSU, and both are in Tuscaloosa.

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